The role of friendships in our life is an important one, now more than ever we are able to constantly stay connected with our peers, using 24/7 internet access to keep in touch no matter where we are. Just one tap of our fingers and we can enter an application that details exactly where our friends are, what they are buying and how they are feeling.
Nowadays it feels with the constant event invitations received on social media that we are out of the house more than ever - but is the expectation of constantly trying to keep up with others having a damaging effect on our health? Quite often we look at the physical side of our health to try and determine how good we're doing, but engaging in regular mental health check-ups is also a crucial part to our overall well-being.
It would be a shock to anyone to discover that our social life is actually damaging our health in such a drastic way, but it's often the most obvious signs that we overlook.
14 You're Emotionally Stressed Through Competing
Welcome to the world of social media - leave your perception of reality at the door and here's a bag full of jealous stares you can hand out to everyone. We can't open up our newsfeed without seeing someone indulge in a humble brag or new update about their latest expensive purchase. This can leave you feeling stressed or emotionally exhausted.
Emotional exhaustion can cause your attention span to lower drastically as you just focus on the negative thoughts alone. When stress becomes really chronic this can affect you mentally and professionally. Limit your time online to just one hour a day (trust that is all you really need) and understand that social media is more theatre than reality.
13 Your Weight Has Fluctuated With Alcohol
If you're going out too many nights with the girls for cocktails, then you may have noticed your weight fluctuating. You could go to the gym five days a week but alcohol is always going to catch up with you.
A large glass of wine has around 220 calories which is the same as a slice of pizza, so a bottle is the equivalent to half a pizza and that's on top of dinner. If there is a social occasion where you have to drink then opt for a vodka and a slim-line tonic, which has just 95 calories. Alternatively you can suggest to the group that one of your meet-ups is a "dry night" when you try out a variety of mocktails and really feel the benefits of avoiding too much alcohol.
12 Your Sleep Is Disturbed By Late Night Chats
You know the story - it's late and you're about to close your eyes then before you know it there's a new group chat just started that you need to get involved in. After hours of chatting it suddenly dawns on you that you only have five hours to go before you have to wake up.
Serious sleep deprivation can lead to higher risk of heart disease or even a stroke. There have also been studies which have linked depression and anxiety to lack of sleep. Make a very strict rule for yourself that you don't take your phone to bed or respond to messages after 10pm - no matter what juicy gossip there is to hear about.
11 Over-Anxious That You Aren't Fitting In
Our need to be socially accepted does not end once school is over, even in adulthood we like to be admired by our peers. According to a report made by the Socialanxietyinstitute.org, "Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is the third largest psychological problem in the United States today. Millions of people quietly endure this pain every day, believing there is no hope for them getting better."
Find the friend in your group who you are most closest to and express that the loud party everyone has been excited about for weeks just isn't for you and you're happy to sit this one out. Often people won't know you are suffering unless you speak up.
10 You Don't Have The Time To Exercise
We get it - you're busy with friends and there's always a new event to attend or party to show up at that you don't have the time for a gym session. The gym is not just there for you to get into physical shape, it has also proven to boost brain function and alter your mental state for the better too. Just two sessions a week can have a positive influence on your relationships overall.
If you're feeling as if you and your friends do plenty together, but nothing really involving exercise then why not suggest to the group creating a new fitness regime together. Think how great you will all look when you've completed that mini-marathon together and can post to Instagram your #SquadGoals.
9 You Constantly Have A Sore Throat
Have you ever wondered why you might have a constant sore throat? Let's think of what happens before a meal: you take a snap of your friends, pass the phone around everyone in the group for picture approval, upload the picture and then begin eating your meal picking up the spare bread with your hands.
Not only do our personal devices harbour germs from being laid down on surfaces but they also pick up other germs from people. As food travels through the windpipe so does bacteria. Always keep a bottle of hand sanitizer close by for use - especially before mealtimes.
8 Social Media Is Giving You Body Dysmorphia
In a recent study by Ruth Striegel Weissman, author of International Journal of Eating Disorders, she discovered that just twenty minutes of activity on social media was enough to contribute towards our weight and shape concerns. She noticed that those who spent long periods of time on sites such as Facebook would become more obsessed with "appearance-focused behaviour" such as anorexia.
Social media can be a great way to catch up with friends and family but too much activity can result in high levels on anxiety. If you feel as if your usage is getting out of control, try downloading an app like SelfControl which allows social media to be blocked on your devices for certain times of the day.
7 Your Skin Is Suffering From Wearing Too Much Makeup
Constantly being "picture ready" for your selfies requires hours of makeup application. Even the lightest of products can clog up your oil glands and impact your pores, which makes them appear larger. Leftover makeup can lead to inflammation and serious breakouts which will create a vicious cycle of more makeup needed to cover up.
The Daily Mail reported, "Only one in 14 women would dare to leave the house without makeup, according to a recent poll - with lipstick and mascara voted the top beauty tools they can not live without. The survey of 1,000 women by George at Asda found that most females wear a full face for more than 60 years of their life, even refusing to go barefaced at the gym." It's time to give your skin a break and embrace being all natural for a change.
6 Your Financial Problems Are Causing Depression
Keeping up with social appearances can eventually burn quite the hole in our pocket without even realizing. Charging that round of cocktails to your credit card, purchasing that latest must-have dress for the party or paying for your flight for the girls trip all soon adds up. Before you know it, your head may be spinning out of control with debt.
According to WebMD financial stress can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain or irregular heartbeats. Studies have also linked stress to blood clots, which makes a heart attack more likely. If you find your expenses are far greater than your income then now is a better time than ever to seek debt advice before it becomes out of control.
5 You Are Suffering Migraines From Too Much Screen Time
Usually we are sat in front of a screen at work all day and then when we get home we spend hours chatting online with friends. This much activity can lead to "Computer Vision Syndrome" and can cause migraines, dizziness, vision impairment, neck pain and crankiness.
Our eyes are not meant for staring at objects up-close without any breaks. One rule to follow is the 20/20/20 rule: take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away from yourself. This will massively help take the strain off your eyes.
4 You Have RSI From Too Much Instant Messaging
Virgin Mobile published a study revealing that four million people were suffering from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) which causes pain and immobility in the joints, nerves and muscles around the fingers and neck.
As we are sending up to hundreds of instant messages a day it all adds up to receptive strain. Accounting firm Deloitte predicted that instant messaging services support more than 50 billion messages per day around the world. Now that is a lot of finger work.
3 You're Constantly Stressed In The Mornings
It's one of those typical mornings, you checked social media at 7am then 40 minutes later you're still in bed and now panic has set in that you might not be ready in time for work. If you hold off looking at any apps until you have made it on your commute to work then this will drastically improve the start of your day.
Another benefit of starting your morning right is that you actually have time for breakfast. Studies have found that those who are up later in the morning often skip that all important breakfast which supplies your energy and nutrients for the day.
2 Your Online Time Is Destroying Intimacy With A Partner
In 2015, a survey from Zephoria Internet Marketing found that most Facebook users spend more than 20 minutes on Facebook per visit. That doesn't even include the time we spend on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest too. If you were to add all those hours up spent online could you honestly say you devoted that much undivided attention to a loved one?
Intimacy with a partner not only burns calories a plenty, but also can help release important stress-relieving hormones. When oxytocin (known as the "love hormone") enters the body you will experience a feeling of euphoria and then complete relaxation. It also helps towards getting a good nights sleep.
1 You're Exhausted From Over-Thinking
Over-thinking can lead to frustration, anxiety, poor concentration and even long term illness. When we spend too much time deliberating one thing or another, we can quite often end up a twisted perception of reality on our hands.
For example: you expressed to your friend that you would like to see the latest Ryan Gosling movie, then you notice on Facebook she has been to see it with a different friend. Every scenario in your head begins to play out and you even go as far as to think that they are both "against you." Usually the right answer is the more simpler ones - they already had plans and you did mention this week was a busy one for you. Discuss your feelings out in the open and you will most likely be reassured that you have nothing to worry about as your friendship is valued greatly.